Unexpected downtime is consistently the biggest risk to reliable productivity and can have huge financial implications on your business, as well as to your company’s competitive edge. According to recent estimates, halts in production have cost the industry £180BN a year (Humanising Autonomy).
Ensuring your machinery is proactively maintained is the key to extending its lifespan. Preventative maintenance can also improve performance, create a safer working environment and save on energy consumption.
We share some of our top tips on what steps you can follow to extend the efficiency and lifespan of your machinery:
1. Regular vibration monitoring of rotating machinery
How often should vibration monitoring be performed?
Carrying out weekly or monthly checks on your rotating machinery for any unusual vibration will ensure the optimum operating conditions. Vibration monitoring can identify misalignment, imbalance, bearing and gear issues, looseness, resonance and electrical faults.
Effective vibration analysis is essential to maximising machinery uptime, and regular monitoring can ensure this by detecting issues in good time before they potentially have catastrophic consequences. Therefore, the reduction of vibration through proper dynamic balancing will help ensure the machine operates smoothly and reliably.
2. Regular machine condition monitoring
What is machine condition monitoring?
Machine Condition Monitoring is the backbone of forming a proactive maintenance program for critical rotating equipment – it allows you to predict potential issues and plan maintenance in advance, before it’s too late. The things to monitor include vibration analysis, thermal imaging and bearing health checks for wear and tear. Worn bearings can result in excessive noise, heat, increased energy consumption and more critically, premature catastrophic machine failure.
3. Ensure machinery runs within design parameters
What causes issues in rotating machinery?
Overloading or overspeeding rotating machinery will result in a dramatic increase in stress on components which will cause vibration and ultimately, cracking and component failure. Ensuring machinery is operated within its performance limitation including load capacity, operating pressure and speed will avoid premature wear and tear, the efficiency of the machine and accidents.
4. Daily, weekly or monthly machine maintenance and thorough clean down
What can I do to prolong the lifespan of my machinery?
Carrying out regular maintenance will ensure all machine parts and components are working correctly and also alert you to any issues, reducing the risk of unexpected breakdown.
The thorough clean-down of machinery after use is also imperative. Dust and dirt can decrease the performance of machinery over time as it can clog fans, vents, seals and filters.
In addition, it’s important to regularly replace lubricants as lubricants contaminated with foreign particles will damage bearings and other critical surfaces, shortening machine life.
5. Correct and thorough training of staff
What are the most important things to teach machine operators?
Ensuring your staff learn about your machinery in detail and know how to operate it correctly within the pre-set operating limits is the first step to maintaining your machinery… After all, they’re the ones who are going to notice problems if it’s not operating as it should be. Failing to train staff sufficiently can result in premature failure, wear and tear and injury to the operator.
It’s also worth regularly refreshing, testing and updating training as skills can become rusty, staff come and go, and techniques change.
6. Document maintenance and servicing in detail
Do I need to keep a record of machine maintenance?
When it comes to servicing, recordkeeping is a crucial part of the maintenance regime. Be sure to keep a comprehensive record of each service that takes place including the time, date, components that needed replacing, technical specifications, and details of the next service. Doing this will ensure operators and maintenance staff know exactly what they’re dealing with.
7. Ensure the correct spares are held in stock
How do I know which spare parts I may need for my machinery?
Planning the spare components you may need when they do need replacing will avoid potential lengthy lead time. It’s good to bear in mind that some parts could take longer to come in due to the current climate.